Taylor Force Act
|Long title||To condition assistance to the West Bank and Gaza on steps by the Palestinian Authority to end violence and terrorism against Israeli citizens.|
|Acts amended||Foreign Assistance Act|
|U.S.C. sections amended||22 U.S.C. § 2346|
The Taylor Force Act is a legislative bill co-sponsored in the United States Senate in 2016 by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Dan Coats (R-Indiana), and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri). The legislation proposes to stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA changes its laws to cease paying stipends funneled through the Palestinian Authority Martyr's Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists.
On August 3, 2017 the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed the advancement of the bill by a vote of 16-5. On March 23, 2018, the Act was signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The bill was named in honor of Taylor Force, a native of Lubbock, Texas who graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute (a secondary school,) and then West Point in 2009 and served tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq. After completing his service, Taylor entered the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University to study for an MBA. He was murdered in Israel in 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist. At the time of his murder, he was visiting Israel as part of a Vanderbilt University study group examining global entrepreneurship.
He was killed on 8 March 2016 in a terrorist attack by a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Qalqilya, a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv that injured eleven people. Because the killer died while committing an act of terrorism, the killer's relatives are paid a monthly pension equal to several times the average monthly Palestinian wage. The pension, paid by the Palestinian Authority Martyr's Fund, is part of a Palestinian Authority policy to pay a monthly cash stipends to the families of Palestinians killed, injured or imprisoned for involvement in attacking, assisting in attacking, or planning to attack Israel, or for other types of politically-inspired violence, including riots, violent demonstrations, and throwing rocks.
The Bill, passed on March 23, 2018 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, ends American aid to the Palestinian Authority unless the Authority ceases to pay stipends to the terrorists and their families, including the families of successful suicide bombers. Democrats, initially reluctant to support the Bill on the grounds that the payments were necessary to keep the West Bank from political upheaval, became more inclined to support the bill in 2017.
The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal endorsed the bill on the grounds that it would force the government of Mahmoud Abbas to end a policy of "rewarding terrorism." Legal scholar Thane Rosenbaum described the stipends the Act moves to end as "lavish incentives to commit violence."
The Palestinian Authority argues that if it ceases to make such payments families will suffer from poverty; others refute this assertion by pointing out that American foreign aid could be distributed on the basis of need, instead of as a reward for murder and attempted murder. The PA also argues that if it stops rewarding terrorists and their families, Hamas will step in to make such payments and gain power in the West Bank.
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- "Pay for Slay in Palestine U.S. aid becomes a transfer payment for terrorists". Wall Street Journal. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- Zanotti, Jim; Sharp, Jeremy M. (September 12, 2017). Taylor Force Act: Palestinian Terrorism-Related Payments and U.S. Aid (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
- "US lawmakers advance bill to defund PA over terror stipends". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
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- Vanderbilt News and Communications. "Message from Chancellor Zeppos on student death in Israel". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- Barbero, Michael (14 March 2017). "Pass the Taylor Force Act to combat terrorism". The Hill. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- Liebermann, Oren; Almasy, Steve; Tal, Amir (8 March 2016). "American Taylor Force killed, 10 people wounded in Israel attack". CNN. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- "Jaffa terror victim was US Army vet, Vanderbilt student". Times of Israel. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Baker, Peter (2 May 2017). "G.O.P. Pressures Trump to Take Tough Stance With Mahmoud Abbas". New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Shawn, Eric (30 April 2017). "Bill in Congress would pressure Palestinian gov't to cut off terror-tied payments". Fox News. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- "Senate Democrats edge closer to endorsing major cuts to Palestinian Authority aid". JTA. 16 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- Magid, Aaron (16 June 2017). "Bipartisan backing builds for Taylor Force Act". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- Rosenbaum, Thane (28 April 2017). "Palestinians are rewarding terrorists. The U.S. should stop enabling them". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- Koplow, Michael (2 March 2017). "Taylor Force Act Could Trigger Israelis' Nightmare Scenario". Haaretz. Retrieved 19 June 2017.